Thanksgiving Speech and Language Activities
Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. I love the food, the family and friends, the football, and yes, even the occasional 5K. I also love incorporating Thanksgiving activities into speech and language sessions in the week or two leading up to the holiday!
Considerations: Before I go all out and plan complete Thanksgiving activities, I want to make sure this is appropriate for all. For example, if I have a client who does not celebrate Thanksgiving, I may skip over this theme, or use a more generic theme, like fall, or harvests. If I have a client who has a restricted diet or is NPO, I probably won’t focus on the Thanksgiving foods but rather on some other elements of Thanksgiving, like family or football.
Thanksgiving Activities for Teachers and OTs
Although many of these are tailored toward speech therapy sessions, many of these activities can be used across disciplines; classroom or special education teachers may read the stories and occupational therapists may work on cutting as they make crafts or cut out flashcards!
Speech and Language Skills to Target
Below are some areas we have targeted while incorporating the Thanksgiving theme!
- Categories: sorting food and non-food items, sorting dinner and dessert items
- Requesting: requesting different Thanksgiving-related objects
- Describing: describing a Thanksgiving table
- Articulation: finding target speech sounds in Thanksgiving vocabulary (e.g. pumpkin and turkey for medial /k/)
- Pronouns: producing phrases such as, “I eat,” “they watch,” “she cooks,” “we talk,” etc.
- Verbs: targeting action words like, eat, cook, clean, cut, shop, and watch
- WH- questions: answering/asking Thanksgiving-related questions, e.g. “WHERE do you go?” “WHO do you see?” “WHAT do you do?” “WHEN do you eat?”
Check out some of our favorite books, activities, toys, and resources for Thanksgiving in our list below.
1. Thanksgiving Books for Speech Therapy
*if you are unable to access a physical copy or are seeing individuals virtually, many of these can be found on YouTube!*
Turkey Trouble: A turkey tries to avoid the inevitable by dressing up in different costumes
Taylor the Thankful Turkey: All about being grateful and thankful
How to Catch a Turkey: The school needs the turkey for their play!
Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun's Thanksgiving Story: A story about the first Thanksgiving
Harvest Days (World of Celebrations - 3): Read about harvests all over the globe
2. Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts for Speech Therapy
Stickers: make your own picture scenes
Wooden leaves: decorate with stickers, markers, or paint
Build Your Own Turkey: choose how you want it to look!
Thanksgiving sticker scene: a fun way to create your own scene
3. Thanksgiving Picture Scenes
Download this resource and use these picture scenes to identify or label vocabulary terms, describe what is seen, or ask WH- questions. This can serve as a great writing prompt as well. Individuals can describe what they see or make up a story about a picture.
4. Thanksgiving Resources
We have created a number of Thanksgiving resources over the years! Find articles on our site and freebies on our Teachers Pay Teachers store.
- Fall-themed WH question stories article and free worksheet; get 20 stories with this resource!
- Fall Fun Bingo article and 3 unique Bingo boards
- Sensory Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt article and resource
- Thanksgiving Flashcards article and cards
- Thanksgiving Mad Libs
5. Thanksgiving Songs
I love using songs with videos to talk about what’s going on, request more (or less) of the song, and use cloze phrases e.g. “Ten little ____”
Thanksgiving Feast: covers different Thanksgiving foods
Ten Little Turkeys: see what happens to them!
Peekaboo Thank You: Cat sees all their friends
Harvest Stew: the Cocomelon crew makes stew
Turkey Hokey Pokey: what it sounds like - Turkey-themed Hokey Pokey!
Additional Speech and Language Resources
Check out some of our other therapy resources!
- Best Games for Speech Therapy
- Favorite Books for Speech and Language
- Top Toys for 6 Months to 5 Years
- Comprehensive Goal Bank for School-Aged Individuals (Receptive, Expressive, and Pragmatic Language)
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